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Messages - HyveMynd

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Monsterhearts / The Oni & The Kitsune - 50% Proceeds to SPLC & PP
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:47:57 AM »
Abusive, dominating, violent, brutal. The Oni is all about enforcing unity within the group by punishing those who don’t fit in.

Deceptive, mischievous, seductive, trapped. The Kitsune is about being unable to tell the truth, even when it would be the best choice to do so.

In an effort to help do something about the current state of the US from over here in Japan, I have revised both my Oni and Kitsune Skins. They are now up on PayHip for $4 each and, until further notice, 50% of all the proceeds made from sales of The Oni will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center ( and 50% of all the proceeds made from sales of the Kitsune will go to Planned Parenthood (

Monster of the Week / How to make Mysteries more mysterious.
« on: June 13, 2013, 11:56:09 PM »
I finally got to run a game of Monster of the Week last night. I'd been wanting to do so for a while, and the stars finally aligned, granting my wish. Unfortunately it was a bit last minute, and real life responsibilities only allowed me very minimal prep time. So instead of being able to create a new Mystery for my Hunters, I just used the examples from the book. My plan was to start them off in media res fighting the last Mongolian Death Worm, and then and then move on to the "real" case of the ghost and haunted house. I figured a quick fight would give my players a feel for how the game worked. We're all familiar with the Apocalypse World Engine (though I wouldn't call us experts), but as the Moves in MotW are different from say Monsterhearts and Dungeon World, a little fight would show them how MotW worked.

Things went well, though the Death Worm fight went longer than I expected. The Hunters turned it into a mini-Mystery, as they wanted to gather some clues first before just kicking down the door and fighting. Although this was intended as a one-shot to give our usual Monsterhearts MC a break, we're probably going to turn this into a campaign with me as Keeper. Which is fine, as I had a blast running the game and everyone enjoyed playing. I did have a few questions though, especially about legwork and investigation.

After the game, one of my players said that he didn't think the investigation part of the game was very strong. We then discussed how, as the premise of the game is monster hunting, there will always be some sort of supernatural creature behind the events the Hunters look into. Obviously this is not a problem (it's the premise), but the player then pointed out that the questions players get to ask from the Investigate a Mystery Move are very straight forward. Getting to ask "What kind of monster is it?" pretty much solves the Mystery with a single die roll.

I said that while that is true (and it is something I'm struggling with a bit), the problem the Hunters will be dealing with isn't really what, but how. OK. You're pretty sure that you're dealing with a ghost here based on the information you've gathered. The big question is how are you going to deal with it? So far, both with the Mongolian Death Worm and the haunted house (the Hunters are currently sitting in their car at the foot of the house's driveway), the Hunters immediately knew exactly where the monster was. They didn't have to worry about how they'd track it down or locate it. I intend to make that an issue in future Mysteries.

But that being said, do more experienced Keepers have some advice about how to make the legwork/investigation part of the Mystery be a bit more, well... mysterious? I understand that the Mystery is (almost) always leading up to a fight with the monster. That's just what the game is. I also understand that if the players come up with reasonable ways to obtain answers to the Investigate a Mystery Move questions, that I should provide them. I'm not trying to play "gotcha" with the players and stonewall them. I need to provide them with usable information so they can make informed decisions. However, it does seem a bit anti-climatic when a player can just make a single die roll and ask "What kind of creature is it?". Maybe I'm not sure how much and what kind of information to give when someone asks this question. My players actually avoided asking it because they thought it would end things too quickly.

I'm also curious how to increase the mystery part of the Mystery in general terms. When Director Murdock slapped the ghost case file in front of the team and told them to check it out, one of the players immediately said "Ghost." I had described how the families who had lived in the house were always reporting "break ins" and "things being moved" but police never found any evidence. Yeah, that's pretty obviously a ghost, but I was still a little miffed my players hit on the answer so easily. As I said before though, the real issue isn't discovering that they have to get rid of a ghost, but figuring out how they'll do it. Still, I'd like there to be a bit more "what are we dealing with" at the beginning of future Mysteries.

Any advice on how to do that?

Monsterhearts / Re: New Skin - The Angelic
« on: February 12, 2013, 12:57:57 AM »
I love the "intro text", love the names, love the looks, and love the origins. Those are genius and shouldn't change at all. I have some thoughts about the moves though.

Set an Example:
I'm not entirely sure what the idea is here. "Carry 1 forward towards your preferred course"? What does that mean? I'm really confused about what "your preferred course" is. Are you saying that the Angelic gets +1 when demonstrating the "correct" course of action to someone they think has strayed? If that's the case,  could you say something like this:

"When you demonstrate the correct course of action to someone you've marked as a sinner, add one to your rolls."

Holy Light:
I think I would add a some fiction here. More about the trigger condition, like "When you use your holy light to smite the wicked…" That's suggests more about how the Angelic uses their power.

Also, the gaining of a String on a 7-9 result feels kind of powerful to me. I think that instead of the Angelic choosing what option they get (String or harm), it should be the target's choice. Do _they_ want to take harm or give you a String?

I think you need to rename this one (it's the same as the Witch's move) and tell us more about it. What kind of things does the Angelic _do_ in their sanctuary? What is it for? I would give the Angelic a +1 bonus to all rolls related to that thing or task while in their sanctuary.

Higher Power:
Why add that option to the 7-9 list? Being given a task that'll earn you XP sounds like it'd be a 10 up option to me. Also, I think the (decide the exact nature of your superior) is kind of weak. Is the Skin meant to be an angel or not? If they're an angel, we know exactly who their superior is, they just might go by different names in different circles.

To Err is Human:
This sounds really abusable. What's preventing the Angelic from saying that _everything_ they witness that's "bad" is something they don't approve of? They'd have Strings on everyone. I think you need to narrow this down.

Why not really push the angel theme here and have the Angelic pick one of the seven deadly sins. Then give them a String when they see someone doing something they don't approve of related to that sin. In fact, why not have the Angelic choose a sin and a virtue during character creation (put the lists under the name section). Then tie the sin to the Set an Example, Holy Light, and To Err is Human moves.

To Forgive Divine:
I don't really see much "forgiveness" going on here. Plus, with the Angelic's +1 Hot score, I don't think anyone will ever have String on the character; they'll just turn people on and use those Strings to clear themselves. I would name this "Burning Bridges" or something similar.

Monsterhearts / The Oni
« on: February 06, 2013, 02:05:41 AM »
My friend and I are both big, big fans of Monsterhearts and we both like to tinker with rules. We've hacked a bunch of games, but never really finished anything or produced anything worth sharing.

Until now.

We've come up with the idea of making several new Skins based on monsters from Japanese mythology (as we've both been living in Kansai for several years now). Here is the first Skin: The Oni.

Everything's done except for the "intro text" on the front cover and a flavorful name for the Gang Advance option.

We'd love to hear feedback on The Oni, whether you simply read it over or if you actually use it a your table. How clear are the moves? Do they work as intended? Do the make sense for the Oni's nature? Are some of the moves broken or overpowered? Does something feel "off"? We just need more pairs of eyes on this Skin to spot any problems we may have overlooked. Thanks.

Monsterhearts / Re: Promise them something you want.
« on: January 26, 2013, 01:18:09 AM »
And equally importantly, if he decides NOT to follow through, you still get something: you get fictional leverage to get on his case. You get the fact that, at least that one time, he told you he would help you out. In high school that's something.
I get that, but I was just expecting the option to have a bit more teeth, mechanically speaking. The other choices from a 7-9 result is "Gain a String on them" or "Give themselves to you." The player of the Ghoul isn't trying to get out of anything, but it does seem as if a player could have their character just keep promising things to people without repercussion. Eventually, the character will have so much fictional fallout that people don't trust anything they say. I guess I was just thinking that there would be some kind of mechanical effect.

Monsterhearts / Promise them something you want.
« on: January 24, 2013, 11:12:38 PM »
So  finally got a chance to play Monsterhearts last night instead of running it. It was great. But we had a rules issue crop up, which I'm looking for some guidance on.

Here's the situation. My Hollow was paired up with the Ghoul (another PC) as dissection partners in biology class. I lean down to hold the dogfish we're cutting open, giving him an unobstructed view down my slightly too unbuttoned shirt. My roll to Turn Someone On is an 8, so he gets to choose one of the usual options.

We were teaching the game to the Ghoul's player and showing him the importance of Strings. He didn't want to give me a String (which I wanted) and didn't think he's character would act on my invitation right there in biology class. So he chose to promise me something he thought I wanted. In this case it was a promise to get his girlfriend to stop spreading rumors about me. Cool. I did want that.

After the exchange he turns to us as players and asks "Do I have to keep that promise?" I and the MC (who was MCing for the first time) were unsure how to answer. On the one hand, saying yes takes away some of the player's autonomy by forcing him to take a specific action. Holding someone to a promise like that is also stepping on the toes of the Fae Skin a bit. But if he can break or ignore the promise he made to me with no consequences, I feel that robs me of my roll. I didn't miss, I got a hit and I feel I should get something out of it.

How do other MCs handle this? Is the benefit I get for my soft hit simply the fictional guilt and shame I can leverage on the Ghoul for breaking a promise he made to me?

Dungeon World / Re: Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?
« on: January 22, 2013, 11:00:04 PM »
Do I need to have it mapped out with notes on monsters and traps?
I'm not a DW expert mind, but I've run the game several times with mixed results and have learned from my mistakes. I would say "yes" to notes on monsters and traps, but "no" to a mapped out dungeon.

For monsters, your notes can just be a collection of critters (intelligent or otherwise) you think would be cool to have the PCs interact with. Think a little bit about what kind of dungeon you're going to start the PCs in (Wizard's Tower, Goblin Mine, Cultists' Lair, City Sewer, etc.) and just brainstorm some creatures that could be found there. Then grab 'em from the DW book (or make up your own) and put their stats and moves on an index card for easy reference during play.

Traps are similar. Think of some cool or classic traps you'd like to see in this dungeon. Write them down on an index card, along with what they do when activated and any telltale signs of their presence. That should all be fiction, though you can note how much damage they do, or write a custom move for the effect. I find it best to not write down how to get past the trap, as that can blind me to creative solutions the players come up with.

Which is why I say don't map out the dungeon beforehand. In the games I ran with a fully mapped out dungeon, I found it only stifled my creativity. It was difficult to make hard moves because I knew where everything was and what everything was doing. Sometimes I found myself thinking "Well, there really isn't anything else in this room, but the player just triggered a Discern Realities move. What should I do?" or "Someone just failed a roll, but none of the monsters could possibly get to them. They're all the way over there, behind all these locked doors. Hmm..."

So, in my experience having a "finished" dungeon hurts more than it helps. If you have a cool idea for a certain location (a narrow stone bridge spanning a bottomless chasm, a pillar-lined room with an altar to an evil deity, the stony shore of an underground sea, etc.) write yourself notes cards about that. Maybe include a quick sketch of the area, and notes about who or what might be found there. Then just use those locations when the PCs wander into an appropriate area. It's almost like playing "connect the dots"; you have a couple of set locations you want to showcase, but just make up the places in between them as the players explore.

Dungeon World / Re: No monster tag for "speed"?
« on: January 14, 2013, 01:16:18 AM »
I think part of the reason there's no monster tag for speed is because the monsters usually only take a "turn" when the players miss a roll or look to the GM to continue the conversation. Dungeon World doesn't have initiative like other games, so saying a monster is fast doesn't mean it'll be able to interrupt a player's action or go before the PCs as in other games.

That being said, giving a monster a quick, nimble, or ponderous tag would give the GM an indication of how to describe it's actions in the fiction of the game. If I saw a monster with the ponderous tag, I'd probably have it do less when describing it's action/reaction. A ponderous beast might slowly turn towards the PCs and raise it's weapon, rather than being able to strike and do damage right away. A nimble creature might duck under a shield, make a few quick jabs, and then hop away, forcing the PC to close with it again.

So, I  see no reason why you can't come up with new speed-related tags if it'll help you remember how your NPCs are meant to act during play. But you could also include a note about their speed (or lack thereof) in the creature's description, or in  it's list of moves. The ponderous creature could have "Act/react slowly, but forcefully" as a move, just like the nimble creature could have "Act/react with unnatural speed".

If you like to do things "by the book" (as I do), you could modify one of the questions from the "Making Monsters" section (p 227). For example, "It isn't dangerous because of the wounds it inflicts, but for it's speed and agility: nimble, reduce it's damage die by one size, write a move about it's speed or agility." Or "It's slow witted or slow moving or both: ponderous, +2 damage or +2 HP or both (your call)."

Monster of the Week / Re: Critical Hit (12 on a roll)
« on: January 14, 2013, 12:32:35 AM »
Frankly I'm not a fan of the "critical" results when you roll highest/lowest possible die result in any system. It's just too random and swingy for my tastes. But I realize that some people like that, and if you do, then go for it.

As Mike Sands said though, you can't really allow a result of a natural 12 (without bonuses) to grant the same benefit that the Advanced Hunter Moves do. That makes it pointless to spend a "leveling up" option to take the Advanced Moves, as everyone already has them for free essentially. So you'll need to come up with something that's better than the usual 10+ result but not as good as the 12+ result with advanced move. Which can be a pretty tough thing to do.

Or, just give everyone the effect of the Advanced Move when they roll a natural 12. If you're running a one shot game this won't matter all that much as the players won't get to that 5th advance (most likely), but for longer games you're essentially taking those options off the table.

Just a thought.

Monster of the Week / Re: My Plans For a Monsters of the Week One-Shot
« on: January 13, 2013, 10:52:02 PM »
I really, really like this mystery set up, and am going to blatantly steal it when I finally run a MotW game. Hope you don't mind. :D

One thing I would suggest though, consider your target audience. What I mean is, are the people you're running this game for familiar with the Beast Bind setting and characters? If so, or if you're running this at an anime-related con, then everything will probably be fine and you can proceed as normal.

If you're running this game for a mixed audience though, or for players who aren't familiar with the Beast Bind setting (or possibly don't even like anime at all), I would suggest filling of the serial numbers completely, so to speak. Drop the Japanese names from the characters and "genericize" the locations both in the character backgrounds and in the adventure itself. Instead of setting the mystery in Tokyo, just set it in "the big city". Drop the anime "flavor" and make it more like Supernatural. Otherwise your players may get overwhelmed with the the Japanese setting in addition to playing the game and learning the rules.

If you're dead set on doing the Beast Bind Japanese anime angle though, I would suggest you bill the game as such. In the game's write up (or the note that people will read before signing up for the game), make sure to indicate what you're doing. I'm (hopefully) going to a con this fall and am running a few games inspired by animes, too (as I've been living in Japan since 2005). But I've either "genericized" the setting, or am naming the game something that makes it very clear the game will be Japanese anime themed.

Again, if you run this with people familiar with anime and Japanese culture (kinda), then you should be OK. Also, I'm not trying to dump on your idea. As I said, I really really like it. I just think more "generic" characters and locations would probably be better for a first run.

Dungeon World / Re: New Wizard Race: Storm Gnome
« on: January 10, 2013, 07:20:17 PM »
So do Blazeheart Gnomes treat volcanoes as places of power?

Only the once, and then you have a vaguely Gnome shaped pile of cinders. ;)

After reading the Wizard class again, I  agree with vsh's comment. Currently only two moves (tRitual starting move and the Enchanter's Soul advanced move) care about places of power, but changing the text to just "Storms count as places of power for you." would allow a Storm Gnome character to take advantage of both. Plus it leaves the door open for Compendium Class moves or future moves that require a place of power. Still a fantastically elegant racial move. Probably one of the best I've seen. Kudos.

Dungeon World / Re: New Wizard Race: Storm Gnome
« on: January 09, 2013, 11:06:19 PM »
That's really, really cool MrPrim. I like it a lot. My first thought was "Oh geeze. Gnomes. Really?" and my second was "Storm Gnomes, too?" But that is an incredibly elegant, incredibly flavorful, incredibly awesome racial move. Bravo.

Your initial idea for The Escaped really caught my attention, John B. It makes me think of the protagonists from Changeling: the Lost game; ordinary humans who were captured or lured into the Fae Realms, kept as pets/slaves/objects/servants/lovers by an inhuman Fae Keeper for an unknown length of time, and then finally were freed/cast out/escaped back into the real world only to find they'd been changed by the experience. Some try to get back, some merely try to avoid their Keeper, while others actively hunt them down. It's my favorite of the White Wolf nWoD games.

So, even though I too have the equivalent of a Masters Degree in procrastination, I'll give this thing a try. I love tinkering around with AW game playbooks, and who knows. Maybe I'll actually finish this one. :)

Dungeon World / Re: Dungeon Starter example play?
« on: January 07, 2013, 10:08:03 PM »
ME: Ok, so that's the setting.
PLAYERS: Awesome. pretty cool. Been in this sea forever, our legs are all shriveled.  Let's start!
ME: Ok, yea cool. So.....why are you here and where are you going?
PLAYERS: isn''re role in this?

If I was starting a game and the players hit me with this question, I would respond with the following:
"OK, look. Dungeon World is a cooperative narrative game. That means you, the players, have a lot more control over the narrative than in other RPGs you may have played before. You can help shape the story and tell me why you're here in the Shallow Sea, or I can just give you a reason. Which would you prefer?"

If the players start throwing out reasons why their characters are in the curent location, great. Build off those answers, ask follow up questions, get details, and encourage everyone to participate. "Thistle, Galadiir says you were sent to the Shallow Sea by the ruler of [Kingdom X] to recover an important artifact. What is artifact you are searching for?" "Bjorn, you're a cleric of Zorica, the god of knowledge and hidden things. Did you learn anything about [Artifact Y] in your training or studies?" "Cassandra, as a bard you've probably travelled all over the realm. Have you ever been to [Kingdom X] before? What was the ruler like? Why do you think he/she wants [Artifact Y]?" And so on.

If on the other had, the players say they'd prefer you to give them a starting point that's cool too. Just pick one of the standard fantasy quests (there's only so many of them) and go. If you're using a Dungeon Starter like the Shallow Sea, grab an impression you think looks cool and start the PCs in the middle of it. "As you wade through the warm, thigh-deep water you can see something floating on the surface ahead of you. It's like a vast mat of white, semi-translucent foam bobbing with the gently undulating waves. As it floats closer you see that it is actually a patch of pea-sized jelly-like bubbles, each containing a tiny wriggling tadpole-like creature. What do you do?" One of two things will happen; either the players will be interested and start making moves (Spout Lore or Discern Realities, probably) or they'll wander off to find something else. If they do the latter, just describe them wading through the water for a while, grab another impression and try again.

Monsterhearts / Re: A quick question about spending strings
« on: January 07, 2013, 07:16:21 PM »
I don't see it expressly stated in the book, but my interpretation is yes. The String is spent. The text says "You can spend a String to..." You don't get the String back on any of the other things you can spend them on, so I don't think this option is any different.

Don't think of it as spending a String to force a PC to do what you want. Instead think of it as spending a String to get the chance to offer them XP to do what you want. Something you normally can't do.

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